12:11 pm, Wednesday 14 December, 2011
A meat processor based in Adelaide Hills was convicted and fined by the Industrial Court after a teen worker was injured while doing holiday work.
The company pleaded guilty to violating workplace safety laws in their failure to ensure the safety of their employee.
SafeWork investigation revealed that the victim was employed as a process worker at the company’s Lobethal facility. Part of his job is to hand-stretch sheep hides into an automatic clamp of a hide pulling machine. His gloved finger was accidentally caught by the machine. The victim was able to pull free but sustained a broken knuckle and a severe laceration to his left index finger. The injury permanently impaired his finger and interrupted his engineering studies. His injury also delayed his Air Force application.
According to a news release by SafeWork SA, the company committed the following failures:
- No risk assessment was done of the task of manually feeding hides into the clamp
- No safe work procedure was created for the task
- No guards were fitted to prevent access to dangerous moving parts
- Training was undocumented
- Training and instruction conducted were insufficient in requiring worker to put himself at risk.
It was noted that this was the company’s second offence which means that they were liable to a higher maximum fine of $600,000 but because of their guilty plea, cooperation and extensive reparations, the fine was discounted by 30 percent.
SafeWork SA through its Acting Executive Director, Bryan Russell appealed to all employers to ensure that their workplaces and work processes are safe, especially that many young people are set to begin casual or other work from now into the New Year. He also said that employers must take into account the inexperience and vulnerability that puts young workers at higher risk of harm.
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